By Atty Philip N. Wesseh (PNW)
One of the cardinal functions of the media is that which relates to “Early Warning.” By this, the media, observing a danger poses to a situation, usually report on that situation before it results to disaster. The purpose of such a report in the media is to call the attention of the concerned authority or institution that is responsible in such matter to act promptly.
Unfortunately, sometimes such reports are perceived as trying to bring some authorities to public disrepute or disgrace. Honestly, the intent is to call attention to prevent a situation that may cause the loss of lives or something detrimental to the society. To say it the Liberian way, it is not intended to ‘make anybody look bad” in the eyes of the public.
Early warning, as it is defined, “is a major element of disaster risk reduction. It prevents loss of life and reduces the economic and material impact of disasters. To be effective, early warning systems need to actively involve the communities at risk, facilitate public education and awareness of risks, effectively disseminate messages and warnings and ensure there is constant state of preparedness. It is said that “an early warning system is more than a warning system; where a warning system is namely the technique linked to the broker subsystem for communicating the warning to the intended recipients for response actions or inactions.”
It is in keeping with its early warning functions that the media always tries to report on those issues that are life-threatening or that has the propensity to cause a greater harms to the society. It was in this light that this paper several days ago reported and repeated a photo-news of a man-hole at Gurley and Benson streets. Initially, it was reported that the man-hole belongs to the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC). But the LWSC said that it was not its man-hole, but that of the Ministry of Public Works.
Sadly to note, since then, the Ministry of Public Works, whose Minister, William Gyude Moore, I dearly admire, nothing has been done to place a cover on that man-hole as it continues to be a death trap, as it is possible that a citizen, not knowing about this could fall into this hollow and lose his or her life, something that would undoubtedly cause an indictment on the government for failing to act promptly to prevent this, despite the early warning by this newspaper.
Today because of the lack of concern by authorities towards this death trap, I decided to featurize this to give a greater attention for a solution. It is an indisputable fact that one of the functions of any government is to provide protection for its citizenry and that anything that threatens this, the government MUST act to save lives. And so to see that this man-hole, despite repeated reports, continue to exit, gives rise for concern.
As I conclude this piece, it is my fervent hope that this will claim the attention of the government. As it is said, “prevention is better than cure.” Hence, let this death trap claim the attention of those concerned. I Rest My Case.